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On The Heavens   



get B, B to get C, and C to get D, one step or two present little

difficulty, but as the series extends the difficulty grows. We must,

then, think of the action of the lower stars as similar to that of

animals and plants. For on our earth it is man that has the greatest

variety of actions-for there are many goods that man can secure; hence

his actions are various and directed to ends beyond them-while the

perfectly conditioned has no need of action, since it is itself the

end, and action always requires two terms, end and means. The lower

animals have less variety of action than man; and plants perhaps

have little action and of one kind only. For either they have but

one attainable good (as indeed man has), or, if several, each

contributes directly to their ultimate good. One thing then has and

enjoys the ultimate good, other things attain to it, one immediately

by few steps, another by many, while yet another does not even attempt

to secure it but is satisfied to reach a point not far removed from

that consummation. Thus, taking health as the end, there will be one

thing that always possesses health, others that attain it, one by

reducing flesh, another by running and thus reducing flesh, another by

taking steps to enable himself to run, thus further increasing the

number of movements, while another cannot attain health itself, but

only running or reduction of flesh, so that one or other of these is

for such a being the end. For while it is clearly best for any being

to attain the real end, yet, if that cannot be, the nearer it is to

the best the better will be its state. It is for this reason that

the earth moves not at all and the bodies near to it with few

movements. For they do not attain the final end, but only come as near

to it as their share in the divine principle permits. But the first

heaven finds it immediately with a single movement, and the bodies

intermediate between the first and last heavens attain it indeed,

but at the cost of a multiplicity of movement.

As to the difficulty that into the one primary motion is crowded a

vast multitude of stars, while of the other stars each has been

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